“I love him but I’m not in love with him.”
“I don’t feel that way about her anymore.”
What does that mean?
Don’t get me wrong. I’ve been married more than half my life and there’ve been times when I’d have sold David to the highest bidder. Shit, any bidder.
Relationship is still the best comic fodder out there. Sometimes, though, relationship stuff isn’t so funny.
How could such a high point in our lives, one that defined who we came to think of ourselves as being, become so abysmal?
Time for a reality check:
We didn’t know what we were getting into. Did you get the birds and bees talk from your parents? And if you were fortunate enough to get the facts about sex, I’ll wager no one told you about love and relationship. While sex is loaded with misunderstanding, innuendo, assumption, and expectation, relationship is many times more complicated than that one component alone. Don’t even get me started on how we learned to be in a marriage from watching our parents’.
You’re in good company. Couples are surprised when I tell them how many other couples experience the same things — sleepless nights in separate rooms, thoughts of divorce, planning how to leave, worries about the kids or their families or what their friends will think. Most every couple experiences relationship burn out, often many times in the same marriage.
Without much more than an admonition to “wait until you’re married” it’s no wonder most people equate sex with love.
Love is transitory. Think about who you were in high school. Or, if you’re old enough, remember what defined you in your thirties. Dollars to donuts much is different. What you weigh is different. What you drive (and why you drive it) might change from a small car to a mini-van. Or, if you’re like me, the color of your hair might be different, too. And much as some of us would like to have the poundage of a 16 something, change happens all around and to each of us. Pay attention to Life; marriage mirrors it. Always moving, shaking . . . changing. Put another way, love never stays the same.
“Love” doesn’t remain the googly-eyed, altered state it was. Good thing: who wants to be married to a cross-eyed idiot?
A daisy won’t tell you the truth about love. If love answers were revealed by plucking petals, there’d be a whole lot less agony around relationship. In beginning-love, uncertainty can be delicious; all-encompassing, interrupting eating, sleeping, and thinking. The only way to keep from dying as a sleep-deprived anorexic without a job is to stop being consumed with expectations and assumptions about who loves you and who doesn’t.
Lots of people have it wrong. Being “in love” comes after “love”. Being in love is the long-haul, mostly up but sometimes down, day-to-day boring stuff that binds us. Being in love can’t happen right away. Being in love packs together the stuff of life and in the process teaches us how to traverse it by ourselves and ultimately with someone else.
Kathe Skinner is a Colorado Springs Marriage & Family Therapist who specializes helping couples get their relationships where they want them to be. She and husband David are celebrating (really) 30 years of marriage. Find out more about Kathe and how therapy really can work at http://www.coupleswhotalk.com, where you can also leave a message or set up an appointment.
copyright, 2016 Being Heard, LLC